Mastering the Skies: The Wonders of Aerial Yoga


While goat yoga has its place on social media for its novelty, experiencing the sensation of floating mid-air, wrapped in silk, offers a profound transformation akin to a butterfly leaving its chrysalis. Welcome to the world of aerial yoga, a blend of traditional yoga practices with the excitement of aerial arts that not only offers physical and mental rewards but also presents a fun, acrobatic twist and serves as a therapeutic and inclusive alternative.

What Is Aerial Yoga?

Aerial yoga marries the practice of traditional yoga poses (asana) and principles with the dynamics of aerial performance. Fabrics and/or ropes suspended from above support practitioners as they explore various poses. This suspended state allows for full body support in a hammock-like fashion or targeted support, with some body parts grounded. Experiencing yoga from this vantage point encourages gentle and intuitive body openings, improves balance, and makes aerial yoga particularly beneficial for therapeutic purposes. Jo Stewart, co-founder of Garden of Yoga in Melbourne, is an advocate for this therapeutic approach, noting the fabric’s versatility in enabling new movements and relieving pressure on wrists and knees, often making it a manageable option for those with mobility issues.

The Origins of Aerial Yoga

The concept of utilizing props in yoga, including the act of hanging students to enhance their practice, traces back to B.K.S. Iyengar (1918–2014), the pioneer of Iyengar yoga. The late 1990s saw the emergence of what was then known as Antigravity yoga, evolving with the introduction of vibrant silk hammocks around 2011, now widely recognized as the key equipment for aerial yoga. Present-day aerial yoga studios and certified instructors can now be found globally, showcasing the practice’s growing popularity.

Benefits of Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga, a fusion of artistry and athleticism, provides numerous benefits:

– Enhanced flexibility, stability, and balance.
– Traction and joint decompression, offering relief from the natural compression caused by gravity and aging.
– A potential reduction in heart disease risk factors, with studies indicating significant health improvements.
– A form of exercise that ranges from low to moderate intensity.
– Noteworthy improvements in mental health, including reduced depression and stress.

It’s essential, however, to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning aerial yoga, especially for those pregnant or with specific health conditions.

Practicing Aerial Yoga at Home

Against expectations, aerial yoga can be enjoyed from the comfort of home, requiring only some creativity for setup. Lori Salomon, with over six years of experience teaching Aerial Yoga Play in the Bay Area, notes the less intimidating nature of private, at-home sessions. With various equipment setups possible indoors or outdoors, ensuring safety through regular checks is crucial.

Finding Equipment for Aerial Yoga

Whether you opt for studio classes or prefer at-home practice, wearing fitting activewear is advisable to prevent chafing from ropes and silks. For those looking to set up at home, there are several equipment options available, tailored to different preferences and needs.

Finding an Aerial Yoga Class Near You

Locating aerial yoga classes is made easy with online search tools. Inquiring at local studios about aerial offerings or private instructors can also lead to discovering classes suited to specific needs.

What to Expect in Your First Aerial Yoga Class

Expect to be greeted with laughter and the opportunity for self-discovery, regardless of prior yoga experience. For those new or with limited experience, beginning with beginner or restorative classes is recommended to acclimate to the practice.

Tips for Aerial Yoga Beginners

Listening to your body, communicating with instructors, starting slowly, trusting the process and equipment, and embracing the fun of trying new poses are key tips for newcomers.

In Summary

The diverse world of yoga offers something for everyone, with aerial yoga standing out as not only a fun, acrobatic experience but also an accessible and therapeutic option for many.

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